Winning at Life with Jeffery Ingram
This post is a very special post. After all the multiple requests that ask me to talk about how Jeffery and I make this all work. We've decided to do a show together. Today we will focus on winning at life with Jeffery Ingram.
Jeffery and I used to do a podcast where we talk about these three things life, business, and parenting. It was a lot of fun, but sadly it had to end. If you'd like to hear these episodes you can go to SmallBizLife.com.
So keep reading to hear what Jeff has to say about winning at life.
Winning at Life is where it all starts
We'll begin with life since this is where it all has to start. We've been together for 2o years. And we've spent that last three years as parents.
We have been through some tough times. Kristin had cancer at 26. We were six years into our marriage. We paid off boatloads of debt. And we were so broke at one point, that we were doing the ramen thing and the rice and beans thing.
Winning at life requires an us versus the world mentality
We both come from different backgrounds. I (Jeff) was a middle child from a Midwestern family. Kristin was the youngest and in a way the only child because there are many years between her and her other siblings.
One of the things my parents tried to instill in me, which I tried to bring to the whole marriage is the idea is it's us versus the world. I pretty much have that approach with Kristin where, even when we disagree, it's not public-facing. I will defend her, even if I think she's wrong. And I'll talk to her about it. But it's us versus the world.
It's critically important that you be a team. Don't have this me versus him sort of thing going on. At times, Jeff and I get frustrated with each other. But we always go back to the team. And when you think of your marriage or your relationship as a team, then all the money squabbles go away. The thought "well I do all this work and you don't do enough work," goes away.
Winning at life requires you to work as a team
As part of the team, one of the things Kristin brought to it was forcing me to talk. Which can be quite frustrating for any male spouse. But it's good though, because you, get an understanding of all of the crap that's going on.
We still have to go back and review this stuff because right now women do take a lot on their plates simply because they're the only ones that find this stuff important and it might need to be done. As a guy, I typically don't care if the counter is wiped off quite as good as Kristin does. But ultimately when you come as a team, she can start learning some of that.
I remember early on, I think one of the biggest things that helped us communicate better was she made me take the Five Love Language quiz. We learned a lot about each other just taking that quiz.
For Kristin, her love language was service. And I didn't have any of those come up at all in my score. I didn't realize that was an actual thing. I would tell Kristin "Don't vacuum the floor for me. I want you to sit down and relax". This would drive her nuts because that was her love language.
Take the journeys. Mess around and have the fun little explorations you can have in life together. As silly as they sometimes are, when you do stuff together, you can learn to appreciate some of the stuff more and sometimes appreciate it when you're not doing it together.
Don't struggle with how to get things done. Do this actionable thing that... Think about what is your mentality going into this. Is your thought process me versus him?
When we get into that type of thought process, you will just keep digging and digging and go deeper and deeper. You will then feel the divide. So when this happens you need to sit down and stop.
If you're in one of those right now, you have got to do a gut check and pull yourself out of it.
Sometimes there are real issues, but you have to sit down and say, "I can't change the other person, but I can change how I react to that person." Or it's just changing the perception and changing what you're doing. This can make all the difference in the world.
I'm a get-it-done guy who thinks that if a task takes you less than two minutes to do, don't put it on the to-do list. So, if I see something that Kristin left out, then I'll pick it up.
It's quicker for me just to pick it up and I know where to put it, then to go to her and remind her. Stop keeping score. Because the truth is you both lose when you do that. And if you catch yourself doing it, don't beat yourself up.
Women have a lot of power in a way in a relationship. Because typically men are very poor at forming any kind of relationship that is healthy with human beings. The wife is one of the two people guys can open up to. So guys typically have a desperate need to latch on to their wife if they'll let them. But it has to be a net positive.
The idea that when you're making decisions together, and if you think of the team, it makes it a lot simpler.
Whenever you're making a deal with someone let them know why you need them to do it for you. What can I do for you to get there? Sometimes it's an experimentation to get to it. But you need to find what's the win-win.
So instead of pitting yourselves against each other, think about how you can generate those wins. Think "what is it that I can do that's going to make both of our lives easier." Find a way to solve the problem
We tried the Fair Play Book method of trying to get things done. It was about dividing up the chores. So Jeff would have a pile of cards. And I would have a pile of cards so we could get things done. That did not work for us.
But what did work is the Passionate Penny Pincher's Planner. We keep it downstairs. It's got like all the tasks that you do every single day to keep your house clean and neat. And then it's got specific cleaning goals every day.
It works great because it's a team thing. I check in on it a couple of times a day. Jeff checks it a couple of times a day. And by the end of the day everything's done.
Final thoughts on Winning at Life with Jeffery:
I'm going to be honest, if you and your partner don't have the life part down, parenting and especially business is going to be really tough.
We have worked very hard that even if we disagree about things, we don't do it in front of Erik. The team thing carries over in all aspects. Life is the foundation. If you can't get this right. If you have smart kids, which even if they don't have book smarts, they know how to manipulate you and they will learn.
And if there's a division between parents, whether it's divorced or, or living together, but just not really getting along, the kids will learn how to exploit it. So keep that in mind.